The purpose of this study was to identify cytokines produced by the retina after laser injury. With the aid of a scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO), right eyes of mice received lesions from a continuous wave argon laser. Left eyes served as unirradiated controls. At 2, 4, 6, 12, 24, and 48 hr after laser irradiation groups of 3 mice were euthanized and retinas fixed for histology or isolated for RNA. Messenger RNA (mRNA) was reverse-transcribed into complementary DNA (cDNA) and subjected to polymerase chain reaction for the following cytokines: tumor necrosis factor-(alpha) (TNF-(alpha) ), interleukin-1(alpha) /(Beta) (IL- 1(alpha) /(Beta) ), interleukin-6 (IL-6), transforming growth factor-(Beta) 1 (TGF- (Beta) 1), macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (G3PDH). Histologically, lesions were confined to the photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, and choroid. In laser-injured retinas, mRNA levels were elevated for IL-1(alpha) , TGF-(Beta) 1, iNOS, and G3PDH, but not TNF-(alpha) , IL-1(Beta) , or IL-6. It appears that the retina, in response to laser injury, upregulates a select number of cytokines in a time-course dependent fashion.